Behaviour Necessary to Support a Terry Investigative Stop In Georgia

In Barnes v. State, 228 Ga. App. 44, 46 (491 S.E.2d 116) (1997), the officers became suspicious of the defendant for the same reasons the investigators' suspicions were aroused in the instant case: (a) presence in a high drug crime area; (b) turning around and walking the other way upon spotting the police. However, the similarities end there. In Barnes, the officers followed up on their suspicions by asking the defendant to stop and speak with them and, immediately thereafter, asking defendant "if he would place his hands on the car." Barnes v. State, 228 Ga. App. at 45. Then, without consent, the officers attempted to physically wrest from the defendant the object that he was holding in his hand. "As we attempted to find out what was in his hand, Mr. Barnes started tussling with us." Id. at 44. Because it was clear from the totality of the evidence that Barnes was not free to leave once the officers had started to speak with him, this Court determined that the initial stop was a Terry investigative stop. Id. at 46. In that regard, the Court found that Barnes' behavior, while suspicious, did not rise to the level of "reasonable articulable suspicion" of criminal wrongdoing necessary to support a Terry stop. Id.